A large part of Mike Shinoda's solo music career has been trying to cope with the loss of his bandmate and best friend Chester Bennington, but even as he tries to write about other ideas, he finds himself coming back to square one. There's an inescapable air to this tragedy, and that's the theme of his new song. Mike Shinoda and blackbear can't shake the past in 'About You,' the next song from Shinoda's upcoming album Post Traumatic.
'About You' is another change of pace for Shinoda. From the somber electronica of the three tracks from his Post Traumatic EP to the optimism of 'Crossing A Line' and the empty searches of 'Nothing Makes Sense Anymore,' Shinoda has really covered a lot of ground with just five songs. 'About You' draws from trap music and puts his own spin on it. The chorus chants "Even when it's not about you, about you / All the sudden it's about you now" with Shinoda's voice pitch shifted to be lower, the synths dancing curiously around them. The verses are delivered more viciously as Shinoda returns to his frustrated attitude similar to his verses in 'Watching As I Fall.' The guest verse from blackbear is much more sensual and lowkey, but still feels just as lost and without direction: "Can’t find the words to a memory / But these are just words to a melody / Find something that works fits the symmetry / For only a quick broken remedy."
The charm of 'About You' really lies in the double entendre of the lyrics. One could look at the hook and think about someone you loved or someone you can't get off your mind. For Shinoda, the hook is about Chester - as he said in an interview, even as he tries to write about other ideas, everything feels like it comes back to Chester. The first verse is an inner monologue where Shinoda tries to shake off feelings of uncertainty and doubt: "I buckled up told myself to suck it up / I was scared to death to get up there and spill my fucking guts / I was saying pull your stupid self together buttercup / Get it cracking Back in Black until you have em Thunderstruck." His lines become more deprecating and questioning in the second verse, asking "What the fuck is left to author anyway," trying to understand if he can write about anything else besides Chester if everything goes back to square one. There's a battle going on in 'About You' that is deeply rooted in both grieving and moving forward.
Mike Shinoda and blackbear can't shake the past in 'About You,' Shinoda attempting to sort his struggle with writing in the wake of losing Chester. The trap element gives the song a lot of relevancy, and the lyrics are relatable on dozens of levels. Only Mike Shinoda can fight an internal battle and make a great pop song out of it, too.
Rating: 84 / 100
Stream or buy 'About You' on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: